TORONTO, May 9, 2012 /CNW/ - Retail Council of Canada (RCC) applauds the Competition Bureau as it begins to present its case before the Competition Tribunal to strike down restrictive and anti-competitive rules that Visa and MasterCard impose on merchants who accept their credit cards.
As the Commissioner noted, these rules have effectively eliminated competition between Visa and MasterCard for merchants' acceptance of their credit cards, resulting in increased costs to businesses and, ultimately, consumers. Merchants in Canada pay more than $5 billion annually in hidden credit card fees.
"This is an issue of fairness," said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, RCC. "We will continue to fight for transparency, real competition, and fairness. We believe the restrictions put in place by Visa and MasterCard increase costs for both merchants and consumers."
Brisebois noted that retailers want to continue offering a variety of payment options to consumers.
"The Visa and MasterCard 'Honour all Cards' rules have nothing to do with protecting consumers, as it has been alleged," she said, adding that those rules are in place to force retailers to accept any new credit card product introduced in the marketplace, regardless of the cost associated with those products. The ever-increasing fees are an incentive provided to banks to issue specific Visa or MasterCard products into the marketplace.
"RCC agrees with the Competition Bureau's lead counsel Kent Thomson," said Brisebois, noting that Thomson told the tribunal that the restrictive contracts put in place by Visa and MasterCard allow the two credit card companies — which represent 92 per cent of the market — to essentially dictate terms to merchants.
Merchants intend to vigorously support the Competition Bureau case and will continue to strive for competition, fair pricing and rules.
Retail Council of Canada (www.retailcouncil.org) is the Voice of Retail. Founded in 1963, RCC is a not-for-profit association which represents more than 45,000 stores of all retail formats, including department, grocery, independent merchants, regional and national specialty chains, and online merchants.
For further information:
VP Communications and Marketing, RCC
416 922-0553 ext. 228
416 574-2552 (Mobile)